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Expecting More Cases With Movement of Returnees, Curfew to Continue Till May 31: HP Govt

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Lockdown-extended-in-india-till-may 31

Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government on May 17, 2020, officially announced the extension of the lockdown till May 31.

The announcement came after the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Government of India (GoI) issued an order, on May 18, under the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005, for extension of the lockdown till May 31, 2020. The State has decided the curfew would remain in effect as it is. 

The Government said as the number of COVID-19 cases has been continuously rising, the circumstances require restrictions through curfew.

The Government also attributed the cause of a surge in COVID-19 positive cases to the return of over 1.5 lakh people who were stranded in other States. Over 60, 000 more are have applied for passes and would be returning to the State in the upcoming days.

The Government has urged the people returning from other States to behave as responsible citizens and follow home-quarantine strictly for the sake of the people of the State.

Currently, the number of active cases in Himachal has risen to 80, out of which half of the cases have appeared within the last two weeks owing to State’s Government’s lackadaisical attitude towards taking sufficient measures and well-thought strategy for management of the mass movement of people into the State.

The tally of active cases is 32 as one of the patients in Kangra’s Jamanabad recovered and tested negative for COVID-19. The tally for COVID-19 deaths has also risen to three as two deaths were reported within the last two weeks. The Health Department statistics say that a total of 17417 persons have been tested in the State till May 17 and 21343 people were under surveillance.

On May 17, the State reported two more positive cases. Both cases were reported from Hamirpur district’s Naduan area.

In the first case, a 59-year-old, who had returned from Mumbai in a taxi with five others, tested positive. He hails from gram panchayat Kardi village.

The second person who tested positive belongs to Tayongli village. He had returned from Mumbai in a taxi as well which he shared with two others.  

Both cases were transferred to Bhota COVID hospital, an official of the Health Department confirmed. The Deputy Commissioner, Hamirpur, Harikesh Meena, has ordered sealing the areas from where the cases were reported.

The salient features of the new guidelines are as follows:

States to decide various Zones

Under the new guidelines, States and Union Territories (UTs) will now delineate Red, Green and Orange zones taking into consideration the parameters shared by the Health Ministry. The zones can be a district, or a municipal corporation/ municipality or even smaller administrative units such as sub-divisions, etc, as decided by States and UTs.

Within the red and orange zones, containment and buffer zones will be demarcated by the local authorities, after taking into consideration the Health Ministry guidelines. 

Within the containment zones, only essential activities shall be allowed. Strict perimeter control would be maintained, and no movement of persons would be allowed, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining the supply of essential goods and services.  Buffer zones are areas adjoining each containment zone, where new cases are more likely to appear.  In the buffer zones, more caution needs to be exercised.

Activities Prohibited throughout the Country

A limited number of activities will continue to remain prohibited throughout the country.  These include:

  • all domestic and international air travel of passengers, except for domestic medical services, domestic air ambulance and for security purposes or purposes as permitted by MHA;
  • metro rail services;
  • running of schools, colleges, educational and training/coaching institutions;
  • hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services, except for the running of canteens in bus depots, railway stations and airports;
  • places of large public gatherings such as cinemas, shopping malls, gymnasiums entertainment parks, etc.;
  • social, political, cultural and similar gatherings and other large congregations; and, access to religious places/places of worship for the public.  

However, online/ distance learning would be permitted and encouraged; and, restaurants will be allowed to operate kitchens for home delivery of food items.

Opening up of Sports Activities

Sports complexes and stadia will be permitted to open only for sports activities.  However, spectators will not be allowed in these complexes.

Activities permitted with restrictions

To facilitate the movement of persons, various modes of transport have already been opened up.  Movement of individuals by trains has been permitted earlier by MHA through an order dated 11.05.2020.   Further, evacuation of foreign nationals from India, the return of stranded Indian nationals from abroad, sign-on and sign-off of Indian seafarers, and intra-State and inter-State movement of stranded persons by bus and train, will continue to be allowed.

Inter-State movement of vehicles and buses has also been allowed with mutual consent of the concerned States/ UTs.  Intra-State movement of vehicles and buses can be decided by the States and UTs. 

National Directives for COVID-19 management

The guidelines specify the National Directives for COVID-19 management, which would apply to public places and workplaces. 

Under these guidelines, wearing of face covers is compulsory; spitting will be punishable with fine as may be prescribed in accordance with its laws, rules or regulations by the State/ UT local authority; and social distancing is to be followed by all persons in public places and during transport.  Marriage-related gathering should not have more than 50 guests.  For funerals/ last rites, the maximum number of persons allowed has been kept at 20.  Consumption of liquor, paan, gutkha and tobacco etc., is not allowed in public places. 

The National Directives also stipulate additional requirements for workplaces.  The practice of work from home (WfH) should be followed to the extent possible, and staggering of work hours should be adopted in respect of all offices and other establishments.  There should be provision for thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitizers at all entry and exit points and common areas; and all workplaces and other sensitive locations are to be sanitized regularly.  In workplaces, social distancing would also need to be ensured through adequate distance between workers, adequate gaps between shifts, staggering the lunch break of staff and so on. 

Stipulations regarding Shops and Markets

Local authorities should ensure that shops and markets open with staggered timings, to ensure social distancing.   All shops should also have to ensure six feet distance (2 gaz ki doori) among customers and also not allow more than 5 persons at one time.

Night Curfew

Night Curfew will continue to remain in force on the movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities, between 7 pm and 7 am.

Protection for Vulnerable Persons

Vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, should stay at home, except for meeting essential requirements and for health purposes.

All activities to be Permitted other than the limited number of those that are prohibited or restricted

All other activities will be permitted except those which are specifically prohibited under these guidelines. However, in containment zones, only essential activities would be allowed, as mentioned earlier.

States to decide on activities within various Zones

States/ UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain other activities in the various zones, or impose such restrictions as deemed necessary.

Use of Aarogya Setu

Employers on best effort basis should ensure that Aarogya Setu mobile application is installed by all employees having compatible mobile phones. 

District authorities have been asked to advise individuals to install the Aarogya Setu application on compatible mobile phones and regularly update their health status on the app. State/ UT Governments have been asked continue to strictly enforce the lockdown guidelines and they shall not dilute these guidelines issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in any manner.

 

Campus Watch

UHF Nauni Bags Rs.25 Crore Funding, Set for Major Overhaul

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UHF Nauni gets IDI funds

Solan: The learning and teaching environment at the Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni is set for a major overhaul under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR) National Agricultural Higher Education Plan (NAHEP) funded by the World Bank, informed the Public Relation Officer, Suchet Attri. He said that under NAHEP, UHF has been awarded the prestigious Institutional Development Project  (IDP). The total outlay of the three-year project is Rs 25 crore with ICAR share of Rs 20 crore and Rs 5 crore funded by the state.

He said that this is one of the biggest projects in UHF’s history and a major achievement for the university. It will help to provide a holistic learning and teaching environment to the students and faculty as scientists and students will be exposed to foreign universities to learn and exchange researchable ideas and issues. The University Vice-Chancellor is the project leader while Dr KK Raina, Professor and Head, Department of Business Management is the coordinator and Principal Investigator of the overall project, he informed.  

The main objective of the project entitled ‘Quality Education in Horticulture and Forestry to generate Human Resource’ is to revamp the university’s UG education through innovative and modern pedagogy, skill development, improving placement opportunities and catalyzing entrepreneurship through global thinking and input. He further said that under IDP, the university will look to strengthen collaborations with leading academia and industry for student exchange and faculty development programmes. 

He informed that around 150 UG students and 50 faculty members will be selected through a competition, to visit top-flight foreign universities for a period of 3-6 months. Organization of webinars and seminars, workshops and capacity building, and engaging industry experts as adjunct faculty is also included in the project. In addition to the creation of several student amenities, the university will establish UG and language labs for improving soft skills, eight smart and two virtual classrooms. He said that the project will also push green initiatives like the use of solar energy for cooking, lighting, use of battery-operated vehicles, solid waste management and recycling, campus landscaping and development of nature parks.

He said that one of the highlights will be the development of Short-Term International Certificate course on temperate horticulture and forestry crops and the strengthening of Student Development and Career Development Cell by developing a proactive industrial interface to create job and internship opportunities. Remedial courses, special attention towards weak students, agri-incubation centres on hi-tech plant nursery, processed food and forest products for entrepreneurial and agribusiness skills will also be taken up during the course of the project.

He further informed that several works have already begun under the project, and initiatives like raising new plantations have been undertaken. The students are eagerly looking forward to this project and have been actively taking part in all activities. A review meeting of the core project team and the statutory officers under the chairmanship of the Vice-Chancellor was held on Saturday. Director Extension Education Dr PK Mahajan, Deans Dr Bhupinder Gupta and Dr ML Bhardwaj also took part in the meeting. 

“This is a very proud moment for the university as we are among the national group that has got grants under this project. It will help us to improve the work culture and change the outlook of the students by providing a holistic learning environment. Besides, it will also help to enhance the quality of study and potential of the faculty will be fully utilized,”

said Dr Parvinder Kaushal, UHF Vice-Chancellor.

He said that only a select few agricultural universities have managed to bag the project through nation-wide competition.

The university will further focus on skill enhancement of students through study programmes with international collaborations and provide an inclusive and equitable quality education for the students through the faculty development programme. Dr Kaushal added that under the project, the university will ensure the sustainability of quality education and system effectiveness through the strengthening of the University Alumni network and industry interface. 

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Himachal Pradesh: Nine More COVID-19 Deaths in Two Days Including a Doctor

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Shimla-As the COVID-19 pandemic tightens its grip on Himachal Pradesh, the number of casualties witnessed an alarming rise. According to the Health Department’s COVID-19 Bulletin, during the last two days, the state has reported nine COVID-19 deaths and detected 502 new confirmed cases. Five deaths were reported on September 19 and four on September 20. The state has also reported death of a doctor. Dr Pradeep Bansal succumbed to the infection at a hospital in Chandigarh. The death tally for the state has now jumped to 117.

Rakesh Jamwal – a BJP MLA from Sundernagar- also tested positive on Sunday. Mandi reported the highest 80 cases.

The total for the state has now risen to 12129, of which 4444 are active.  Of the total cases, 7548 have recovered. However, the actual number could be much higher as not all new cases are traceable due to ongoing community spread. The state, as well as, the Centre government have no strategy to contain the spread. Himachal Pradesh has even begun to witness tourist activity without any restriction at all, which would further aggravate the situation. Though the state government has been maintaining that it is prepared to combat the community spread, the rate of casualties is alarming and likely to rise further.

The people have taken government’s this casual approach as a hint that there is no escape from the spread, resulting in relaxation in precautions like wearing a mask and social distancing. There is hardly any sanitization drive for public transport and public places. The SOPs are hardly being followed. According to health officials, what is fueling the spread is the reluctance of people with mild Influenza-like Illness (ILI) to get themselves tested.

Further, as the infection has now reached the rural areas, where health infrastructure is mostly in tatters, it’s to be seen as to how prepared the government is in saving lives.

Those having elderly and chronic disease patients in the family need to be more precautious.

Find the details of the deceased persons below:

Himachal PRadesh COVID-19 deaths on september 20, 2020

Feature Image: [email protected]

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Himachal: 12 COVID-19 Deaths in a Day, 68 in Past 19 Days

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Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 deaths

Shimla-The COVID-19 fatality rate in Himachal Pradesh is spiralling up. On September 18, the state reported a record 12 deaths in a single day. The deceased aged between 42 to 95 years and most had other pre-existing medical conditions. A total of 432 new confirmed cases took the COVID-19 case tally for the state to 11622 till the last official update from the Health Department (9 PM).

The situation is alarming as 5367 of the total cases and 68 fatalities were reported during the past 19 days of September month. So far, the highest 24 deaths have been reported from Kangra district, followed by Solan (21) and Shimla (20). (View the table below for statistics from other districts).

Available data of fatalities suggests that elderly persons and patients of Diabetes Mellitus, Cancer and Chronic Kidney Disease are highly vulnerable. Take a look at the medical conditions and symptoms of the 12 patients who succumbed to the infection yesterday:

Himachal Pradesh Daily COVID-19 deaths

 So far, Solan district has reported the highest 2566 cases, followed by Kangra (1759), Siramur (1482), Mandi (1228), and Una (1057). The tally for Shimla is witnessing a steep rise as the number has reached 826, of which 730 cases were reported during the past 19 days.

HP Health Department COVID-19 Bulletin- September 18, 2020 (9 PM)

Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 data till september 18, 2020

These numbers are official statistics and the original number could be much higher as it is not possible for the government to trace all cases due to community spread. The government itself admitted that people with mild symptoms are not getting tested or reporting it and isolating themselves. These people are fueling community spread, the government said. 

Regarding the fatalities, the health officials say that people are coming to hospitals very late only when their symptoms worsen. They have urged people to not ignore the appearance of symptoms and get tested or inform the authorities.

Meanwhile, lifting all restrictions on inter-state movement of people including tourists would add fuel to the situation. Tourists have begun to visit the state and the attitude of the public is becoming more casual, following the lead of the state government.

As usual, Chief Minister Jairam Thakur continues to maintain that the state government is prepared to deal with community spread. Moreover, with this surge in cases and fatalities, the blame is being shifted on the people alone. 

Feature Image: [email protected]_s

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